An insider's guide to the top boutique hotels in Madrid, featuring the best for rooftop bars and pools, Michelin-starred restaurants, spas and stylish sensibilities.
Urso Hotel & Spa, Alonso Martínez
The Urso is in the elegant Alonso Martínez area of Madrid, a few minutes’ walk from the oh-so-trendy neighbourhoods of Malasaña and Chueca and the boutiques along Calle Fuencarral. The early 20th-century palatial building, designed by architect Antonio Obrador, has conserved many original features such as the tiles on the façade, the fabulous mahogany lift and the stained-glass windows on the staircase. Although it is in the centre of the city, a muted palette of cool green, grey and cream tones and delicate Japanese prints create an air of calm and discreet chicness. The Natura Bissé spa is everything an urban spa should be, with no fussy nonsense.
Read the full review: Urso Hotel & Spa
Only You Hotel, Chueca
Get over the slightly incongruous name of this beautiful hotel and you’ll find effortless interior design and a great location in the thumping barrio of Chueca. For those seeking one of the coolest places to stay in the city, you can’t go wrong. The hotel is in a charming former palace that dates back to the 19th century, all arched windows, Juliette balconies, window shutters and awnings. The original central courtyard is now a quadruple-height lobby which, under the vision of Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, is the centrepiece of the hotel: expect an eclectic mix of oversized lamps and vases, retro sofas, art books and enviable 1970s-style coffee tables.
Read the full review: Only You Hotel
The Principal, Gran Vía
The Principal is popular with a media and fashion crowd, as well as anyone who wants to be able to walk everywhere. With comfortable rooms and a calm colour scheme, it is a handy haven in the heart of the city. The chic roof terrace is one of the most coveted spots in Madrid for a drink in summer. It has the feel of a private club in New York or London. The restaurant is overseen by Ramon Freixa, who has two Michelin stars for his restaurant at the Único (more on this below).
Read the full review: The Principal
Dear Madrid, Plaza de España
The Dear is at the end of the Gran Vía, the main avenue through the centre of Madrid, on the corner of Plaza de España. Leading interior designer Sandra Tarruella has created a calm haven above the hectic street using a palette of pale greys and natural tones. Floors are oak and furniture is the clean-cut Scandinavian style that is so in vogue these days. There is only a small reception and lobby area at ground level as everything happens up on the top-floor terraces, including the rooftop plunge pool where you can gaze across the skyline as you cool off.
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Hotel Santo Mauro
The five-star Santo Mauro is grand, tasteful and popular with celebrities who want to keep a low profile. A former palace with opulent interiors in a quiet area, it is one of Madrid’s smartest hotels with sumptuous rooms, a tranquil garden, an attractive cocktail bar and a renowned restaurant. The property comprises three buildings, the main one being a neoclassical mansion that was built in 1894 for the Duke of Santo Mauro and features a marble staircase and elaborate cornices. The hotel is surrounded by lovely gardens with chestnut and eucalyptus trees, ideal for sipping a long drink in the shade.
Read the full review: Hotel Santo Mauro
Tótem exudes discreet urban chic, following the example of the Urso, its sister hotel in Madrid. The elegant building occupies one of the most upmarket corners in the city, with a decadent bar and laid-back restaurant, and is a favourite of well-heeled locals as well as Madrid regulars. You step into a world of minimalist luxury where all the materials are high quality. Charcoal, teal, dusky pink, cerise, navy and purple all play a part in the colour scheme, popping out against a palette of shimmery neutrals. The original wooden staircase has been restored and lends a sense of grandeur.
Read the full review: TÓTEM Madrid
Hotel Orfila, Alonso Martínez
In a city of long days, late nights and riotous fun, the Orfila is a quiet haven in which to relax before everything starts up again. Family-owned, and with just 32 rooms, you feel as though you are a guest of an eclectic old Doña who lives there, but is rarely seen. The location, on the edge of three districts, is perfect for seeing the many sides of Madrid. For business travellers, it’s close to the Paseo de la Castellana; for weekenders it’s within walking distance of Retiro park, the Prado museum and the upmarket shopping districts of Goya and Serrano. Much of guests’ time (in spring and summer) will be spent in the beautiful terraced garden, which has a grand, centrepiece fresco.
Read the full review: Hotel Orfila
Vincci The Mint
Fashionable and fun, the four-star Vincci The Mint is the sort of hotel that forms part of your city break, rather than just being somewhere to sleep. With zingy design, healthy food, naughty cocktails and a spectacular roof terrace, it is totally on trend and fits right into the peppy Madrid vibe. It lives up to its name with cool green shades throughout, from peppermint to pistachio, pea, lime, olive and emerald. There are perky fabrics in reds, blues and shimmery metallics too. The lobby, bar and lounge are one very appealing space where it is tempting to linger with a coffee or a drink at any time of day.
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Hotel Único Madrid, Salamanca
The Único is on one of Madrid’s most exclusive streets in the swish Salamanca district, and is surrounded by smart shops with lots of restaurants nearby. Housed in an elegant 19th-century building, it is all about good design and great service with no daft gimmicks. Ramon Freixa’s restaurant in the hotel has two Michelin stars, making this a top choice for foodies. He is also in charge of breakfast, which is served in part of the restaurant and on the attractive covered terrace in the garden.
Read the full review: Hotel Único
Hospes Puerta de Alcala, Retiro Park
This handsome boutique hotel is a chic sanctuary that allows you to escape from city life (especially in its great Bodyna spa). Overlooking the Puerta de Alcala, one of Madrid’s most important monuments, and opposite the Retiro park, the Hospes is handily located without being in the thick of the hectic downtown area. You can walk to the major museums and are right by the upmarket shops of the Salamanca district. The distinctive cornicing and mouldings in the bedrooms are vestiges of the days when this was a grand private residence.
Read the full review: Hospes Puerta de Alcala